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Globalisation should not be allowed to hinder social justice: Siddalingaiah

Special Correspondent

Kashempur calls for steps to ensure that Dalits get protection within the globalising market



CAUTION URGED: A section of the audience at a seminar in Bangalore on Tuesday on the impact of globalisation on Dalits. — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Bangalore: The process of economic globalisation should not be allowed to bulldoze the ideals of social justice, said Dalit writer and Kannada Development Authority chairman Siddalingaiah here on Wednesday.

Speaking at a seminar organised by Karnataka Rajya Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (KRDSS) on the impact of globalisation on Dalits, he said information technology and biotechnology industries could not escape this responsibility, and the Government should fix the responsibility on them through appropriate laws. He cited the Chinese model as an ideal one that had "selectively embraced globalisation."

Call for awareness

Agriculture Minister Bandeppa Kashempur, who inaugurated the seminar in place of Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy who was at a Cabinet meeting, said steps should be taken to ensure that Dalits and other oppressed sections got protection within the globalising market.

Provisions made in law to benefit Dalits often benefited only a small section among them, which emphasised the need for better awareness and education, the Minister said.

Buddhaghosh Devendra Hegde, who delivered the keynote address, said the very notion of social justice had to be defined in new ways with reservation becoming redundant in the era of economic liberalisation. While some scholars argued that globalisation loosened the grip of entrenched power and caste interests, the Dalit community should guard against these being replaced by more repressive international power interests that colluded with local ones, he warned.

Several Dalit leaders who spoke at the seminar, including Mr. Hegde, said that knowing how to use a computer and English education could prove to be great assets for the community in a global economy. They criticised votaries of Kannada as the medium of instruction, saying that lack of English knowledge disqualified Dalits from even menial jobs.

Interestingly, Mr. Siddalingaiah steered clear of addressing this question in his address. In fact, there was very little time to discuss several issues the theme of the seminar could have opened up. The seminar, which was scheduled to start at 11 a.m., began only at 2 p.m. after a long wait for the Chief Minister.

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